Monday, July 6th, 2009
My lips will praise you, Lord,
for sweeter than life is your merciful love.
The land of amore may have given the world Casanova, but it has also given the Church a great company of witnesses to the virtue of chastity, a group of heroic women whom we acknowledge as the “virgin-martyrs.” St. Lucy, St. Cecilia, and St. Agnes all hail from Italy, as well as a latecomer to their noble band, the saint we remember today, Maria Goretti.
The virgin-martyrs continue to witness to Christians the order contained within the virtue of charity. All loves, and especially our disordered loves, must of their very nature be subordinated to the love of Christ. In the love of Christ, all other loves find their healing, rectification, and right ordering. The virgin-martyrs knew this truth, and they offered their lives to Christ before settling for any love smaller and indeed cheaper than his.
St. Maria Goretti’s witness continues to capture the modern imagination, albeit negatively at times. The culture’s sometimes disbelieving response to her life and death reveals how easily we can lose sight of chastity’s importance, and how little we can trust the the reality and power of the love of Christ. Still, Maria’s witness offers a healing salve to our weakened sensibilities, and her intercession can reintroduce us to the love she knew.
From Catholic Online:
Maria was born in Corinaldo, Ancona, Italy, on October 16 1890. Her farmworker father moved his family to Ferrier di Conca, near Anzio. Her father died of malaria and her mother had to struggle to feed her children.
In 1902 an eighteen-year-old neighbor, Alexander, grabbed her from her steps and tried to rape her. When Maria said that she would rather died than submit, Alexander began stabbing her with a knife.
As she lay in the hospital, she forgave Alexander before she died. Her death didn’t end her forgivness, however.
Alexander was captured and sentenced to thirty years. He was unrepentant until he had a dream that he was in a garden. Maria was there and gave him flowers. When he woke, he was a changed man, repenting of his crime and living a reformed life. When he was released after 27 years he went directly to Maria’s mother to beg her forgiveness, which she gave. “If my daughter can forgive him, who am I to withold forgiveness,” she said.
When Maria was declared a saint in 1950, Alexander was there in the St. Peter’s crowd to celebrate her canonization. She was canonized by Pope Pius XII in 1950 for her purity as model for youth.
She is called a martyr because she fought against Alexander’s attempts at sexual assault. However, the most important aspect of her story is her forgiveness of her attacker — her concern for her enemy extending even beyond death. Her feast day is July 6. St. Maria Goretti is the patroness of youth and for the victims of rape.
source of innocence and lover of chastity,
you gave Saint Maria Goretti the privilege
of offering her life in witness to Christ.
As you gave her the crown of martyrdom,
let her prayers keep us faithful to your teaching.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever. Amen.
On Saturday in Washington, DC, Fr. Augustine DiNoia, OP, a Bronx native, will be ordained a bishop in accord with the honor and duties of his new office. Last month, Pope Benedict XVI named him the Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. Since 2002, Fr. DiNoia has served as the Undersecretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
The Ordination Mass will begin at 2:00 PM in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. EWTN will broadcast the Mass live.
Below is the article covering Fr. DiNoia’s new appointment published in the June 18th issue of Catholic New York.
New York-born Dominican Theologian Named to Vatican Post
Pope Benedict XVI has named U.S. Dominican Father J. Augustine DiNoia an archbishop and secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments.
“I am happy the pope has entrusted to me an area that he considers so important,” the archbishop-designate told Catholic News Service June 16, shortly after the Vatican announced his new assignment.
“I think the liturgy should give us a sense of the heavenly liturgy; it’s about God, not us,” he said.
Archbishop-designate DiNoia, 65, has served as undersecretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith since 2002. Pope John Paul II had named him to the Vatican position and for his first three years at the doctrinal congregation, his superior was Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, elected pope in 2005.
A native New Yorker, he grew up in the Wakefield section of the Bronx, where he was one of at least a dozen altar boys who served with Father Nicholas F. Milazzo at St. Anthony’s, Richardson Avenue, to become a priest.
A graduate of Cardinal Hayes High School in the Bronx, he was ordained for the Dominicans in 1970. He taught theology at St. Joseph’s Seminary, Dunwoodie, for a year as a visiting professor before moving to the Vatican in 2002.
His episcopal ordination will be July 11 at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington; U.S. Cardinal William J. Levada, prefect of the doctrinal congregation, will preside at the liturgy, he said.